If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth ten thousand. We could go into detail on the step-by-step instructions for any intricate braid, and considering how many variations of braids there are out there, we’d be here all day. Instead, we decided to round up the best instructional braid tutorials from our favorite vloggers on YouTube.
Follow along as these ladies create plaits, or watch first and take a stab at your own braid afterwards. Even the most complicated of versions (5-Strand Dutch braid, anyone?) will seem doable. No matter what kind of style you’re going for, there’s a braid that’ll work for you.
Illustrations by Rolando Robinson
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Illustration by Rolando Robinson
One style every woman should learn—the classic French. It plays casual or formal, and the technique works for a full on braid or adding in smaller braids around your face.
Add texture to the hair with small braids throughout and a simple-to-recreate pulled back style on top.
Braided Bangs: Tame frizzed out bangs with a thick braid along the hairline. Whether you keep the rest of the hair down or pull it back into a ponytail or bun, your braided bangs will look perfect.
Take hair chalk up a notch by coloring and showcasing in a half-up braid. Have fun with a few different colors, or coordinate your hair color to your outfit by going monotone.
The Katniss Braid:
This one never gets old. Mindy from Cute Girls Hairstyles got the exact step-by-step from Linda Flowers, the Hair Designer and Hair Department Head of The Hunger Games. Follow these steps to unleash your inner Katniss Everdeen.
Messy Braided Bun:
Make messiness intentional with this textured braided bun. For some extra oomph, spray hair with a dry texturizing spray first.
Hair and Makeup by Steph demonstrates how the use of a headband makes a braided updo easier than a messy topknot. All you'll need for this look is a cute elastic band (and a few minutes to learn the technique).
Braided Ballerina Bun:
Trace around a classic ballerina bun with one simple braid. Want to take it a step further? Add on a bejeweled headband.
Lace Braided Bun:
This tutorial uses a sock bun, making the French braided bun ten times easier. Bonus: Sock buns help make thin hair look lush.
Upside Down French Braid Bun:
Luxy Hair gives simple tricks to recreate this seemingly complicated style. We love it mainly because it's a surprise in the back!
Dress up your ponytail with two braids grazing down the head. It's simle and takes about five minutes, but the result will give you stares all day long.
Fauxhawk Braided Ponytail:
Braid directly in the center of the head and pull back into a ponytail. Edgy!
The Waterfall Braid:
The new quintessential warm weather braid, the waterfall braid is the perfect summer dress accessory.
Double Layer Waterfall Braid:
Braid just below one waterfall for flowing symmetry along the head. This one takes some practice, but the result is stunning.
Also known as the milkmaid braid, Fancy Hair shows how to make the style formal, opposed to having a more bohemian finish.
Half-Up Heidi Braid:
For a night on the town, rock a gorgeous Heidi braid and flowing curls.
After mastering the French, go one step further with a 4-strand variation.
4-Strand Braid With Ribbon:
Attach a ribbon to a strand of hair before braiding. The ribbon will then intertwine throughout, adding color and texture. It's perfect for summer!
The 5-Strand braid that resembles a woven basket is a mystery no longer. The added bonus of this style? Five strands mean your braid will immediately look thicker.
If anyone can bring the breezy, beauty braid to life, it's Lauren Conrad. Her hairstylist Kristin Ess recreates the look with step-by-step instructions so you can DIY the look at home.
Reverse Fishtail Braid:
Just like the Dutch braid is the reverse of a classic braid, this simple style is a reverse of the classic fishtail. Trust us, it's easier than it looks.
Fishtail Braid Pigtails:
Make pigtails grown up-friendly (and thicker) with a fishtail version.
French Fishtail Braid:
Start your fishtail at the center of the head to add more texture. This style really seals in every strand, so it's perfect for a frizz-prone day.
Add texture to your updo without the massive amounts of hairspray. Just fishtail it up!
Half-Up Fishtail Braid:
A simple trick to controlling this style—twist the section in place and braid down.
Fishtail Headband: Replacing a class French with a fishtail makes it a great pairing with beachy waves. Keep the rest of your hair down or style it into a low bun for a classier look.
Fishtail Heidi Braid:
The fishtail version makes the style even more fun than usual!
Double Dutch French Braid:
Play up a simple Dutch braid by braiding down both sides of the hairline and gathering into a long thick Dutch braid.
Dutch Braid Headband:
Highlight the braided headband by opting for a Dutch version, then finishing the look into a half-up style.
Half-Up Dutch Braid:
Abby Smith from Twist Me Pretty (we recommend everyone follow her on YouTube!) demonstrates how to pull up half the hair into a Dutch crown.
Dutch French Braid:
To create the reverse version of a Dutch French braid, pull the hair under — instead of over — when braiding.
5-Strand Dutch Braid:
The 5-Strand braid goes 3D with the Dutch version that's only slightly harder than the original.
Dutch Crown Braid:
Create a thick Dutch braid along the hairline and clip behind the ear for this gorgeous look.
Double Dutch Braided Ponytail:
For hair that frizzes near the hairline, double braid and pull into a tight ponytail. You'll be set all day long!
Waterfall Rope Braid:
The rope version simplifies the trendy waterfall braid, making it easy for those of us with less than amazing braiding skills.
Twisted Rope Braid:
Create the illusion of a French braid with a simple rope braid that only requires two strands. Simple and pretty? We'll take it!
Celtic Knot Braid:
Make this advanced style your go-to for sophisticated situations.
Celtic Knot Ponytail:
Upgrade the celtic knot with this simple version that plays off the same techniques. Finish off the knot with a ponytail (or a half-updo!) and you're good to go.
Knotted Messy Side Braid:
Dress down some formal wear with the knotted braid. Opt for this side version or even braid into a high bun.
Knotted Half-Up Braid:
Braid guru Abby Smith describes this style as a culmination of "glorified knots." Follow the steps to get this look for yourself.
The Bubble Braid:
Fishtail braid too complicated? Fake the style with this tightly twisted segmented braid.
Scallop Braid Headband:
The scallop trend moves to hair with this surprisingly simple style that pulls the hair away from the face.
This style looks similar to a fishtail, but it's actually consists of a twist and then a knot, a twist and knot, moving down the hair.
The ladder braid creates a "ladder" effect by connecting two braids together with a technique similar to the waterfall braid—adding strands on one side and removing strands on the other.
Zig Zag Braid:
Feeling quirky? Create a zig zag version with the braid flowing from one side to the other, moving down the head.
Also known as a "sweetheart braid," the style is much easier than it appears. Trace the shape of a heart with a comb and braid around the perimeter.
The snake braid—which resembles fisherman knots—simply consists of braiding the hair down to the ends, pulling one section out and pulling the braid up to tighten.
Rose Braided Bun:
The wrapping of a simple French braid creates a gorgeous rose shape on the back of the head.
Dutch Rose Braided Bun:
Highlight the rose further with a Dutch version.